Dr. Phil approaches another subject with Grant. "Why do you not wear your wedding ring?"
Grant gathers his thoughts. "It's a little conflicting for me. I'm actually a little confused about it, why I don't choose to wear it. I feel like there are some hard feelings between Kelly and me. Wearing that ring would be like conceding and saying that everything's OK, and I'm not going to worry about the problems that we have. And I just can't do that right now."
"What message do you think that says to her?"
"You know, I'm not sure. I haven't really thought about what messages I'm sending her. She paints the kitchen pink. I choose not to wear my ring."
The audience groans.
"Well, my decision about that, it's my decision and I'd say there's probably some downside to that, but it's just what I feel like doing right now," Grant says in reaction.
"How do you feel about the fact that he won't wear his wedding ring?" Dr. Phil asks Kelly.
"It hurts my feelings! It makes me feel bad. It makes me feel like he's holding it over my head. Like, 'When you're the perfect wife, I will put the ring back on.'"
"You see it as a symbol," says Dr. Phil.
"Yes. Of him being stuck with me, of him being mine, of us being married, of his respect for our relationship," she says.
"Is it insulting to you that he won't put the ring on and declare to the world, 'Yes, I am married to her'?"
"It is," says Kelly. "It hurts my feelings. I wonder what it means. I want to know what it means that he won't wear the ring."
"Well, he's told you," says Dr. Phil. "'I have issues with her, I have conflict with her and I feel like if I put that on, that I'm conceding that it's OK, that she's OK.'" He says to Grant, "And God forbid that you would send the message to your wife that 'I accept you and I will proudly wear this for the world so people know that I am married to you and proud of it.'"
Kelly adds, "I guess it sends me mixed messages because we're trying to get along, but he's not willing to wear his ring. So it's like we're going in two separate directions."
Dr. Phil addresses Grant, "I answered your question as to what 'it' is. And I described it to you in terms that are foreign to you, I think, of emotional commitment, emotional connection, being each other's soft place to fall, saying, 'I love who you are, not what you do. I accept your spirit and your heart and your personality and your being, independent of how you load the dishwasher.' What is your response to that?"
"I think that's probably the best explanation I've gotten on what that 'it' could be and I'm grateful I got that," says Grant.
"I also said that being happy is a choice," says Dr. Phil, "that you wake up in the morning and you choose. 'Today, I choose this attitude, I choose this spirit, I choose this energy today.' How do you feel about that?"
"Every day it's going to be a choice that I have to make to be happy," aknowledges Grant. But he has more questions for Dr. Phil. "I want to know what I can do to help resolve the way I feel. I'm very angry. I go from being very angry, and feeling shut down and numb," says Grant.
"Do you understand that those feelings and emotions are about you? They don't have anything to do with your wife, your kids, your family. Do you realize that you own that emotion?" asks Dr. Phil.
"That I'm angry because of me; they're not making me angry," he says.
"It's not in reaction to her," says Dr. Phil.
"That's a new development," says Grant.
"And that doesn't mean that she can't do things that aggravate you, and the kids can't do things, but do you realize that you own that emotion? If you're angry, that's coming from the inside out. That's not reacting to what somebody else does, that's you choosing to be angry or happy or peaceful or whatever. That comes from inside you," says Dr. Phil.
Turning to Kelly, he says, "So that's not about you. You need to know that if he's angry, he's making the choice, not you."
He turns back to Grant, "Look, anger is just a symptom because anger is really just what we put on the outside when we're feeling hurt, fear or frustration. So anger is not really the emotion. You're either hurt, something's hurt you, or your scared, you're really afraid that you're losing control, or that you can't get something right, or you're just really frustrated that you just can't make the world order itself and do what you want it to do, when you want it, the way it should be done. So, you answer the question for me. If anger is just the symptom, what is it really reflecting, hurt, fear or frustration?"
"I think I'm more frustrated than I am hurt," says Grant.
"And you want me to tell you what causes frustration? What causes frustration, in marriage in particular, but in life in general, is not what happens, it's the violation of your expectation of what's going to happen," says Dr. Phil. "So one of the things you have to do is adjust your expectation. You don't have to fix the world today. You don't have to make everything run like a well-oiled motherboard today. You don't have to have everything perfect today. Let me tell you something, this idea of controlling life, that is one of our most arrogant misperceptions known to man ... The more you try to control the external world, the more it reflects the fact that you have chaos inside."
"Let me ask you a question. Just from your own personal experience, how much fun are you to hang out with?"
Grant pauses. "Uh ... That's actually a good question. I've really tried to change that. Your Self Matters book says that my presentation really impacts how other people are going to respond to me, so I'm trying to be a lot nicer guy to be around."
"You see that in people who enjoy being with each other. I see that in Robin all the time. She absolutely cracks herself up. She'll be in a room by herself and just crack up, just start laughing. Really, she just has fun being with herself, and then other people have fun just being around her," says Dr. Phil. "So you have to make a choice that says, 'You know, I've got to be my own best friend. The first person I've got to get along with is me. The most important relationship you will ever have in this life is the one you have with yourself."
He asks Kelly, "Do you have ownership in this marriage?"
"Yes," she says.
"Are there things that you can and need to do better?"
"There are things I absolutely want to do better. I want to have a really clean house. I want to have the perfect furniture in just the right place too. I want to have it decorated so that I walk into a room and think it's beautiful. I want to cook great. I want to enjoy it just as much as he wants to enjoy it. I want to do those things that he wants too," she says.
"Look, everybody wants those things," says Dr. Phil. "But don't you also want to feel better about who you are in this marriage?"
"Absolutely," she says.
"Don't you want to feel accepted? Don't you want to look in the mirror and say, 'That boy is lucky to have me as his wife'?"
"That would be very nice, and I want him to know that I am trying my best, and that I am happy with the decisions that I have made," says Kelly. "Yes, I want that clean bathroom, but I also have priorities with my children, and it comes down to making a choice between reading or cleaning this, or playing a game with my daughter or cleaning this, and I'm trying to find the balance to where I'm happy with the decisions that I'm making, and I am happy with how I divide up my time."
Dr. Phil asks Grant, "Do you get the fact that the better she feels about who she is, what she does and how she's regarded, the better companion she is for you?"
"Up to a point," says Grant. "If I'm always coming down on her, it's going to break her down, it's going to break her spirit, and so I think if I'm a nice person to be around, who's a good influence, she'll kind of rise to her potential. She'll be able to breathe again and do some things. But when does she take over and kind of strive for excellence and want to do well?"
Dr. Phil just stares at Grant.
Grant continues, "It's part of her too. I could do things to make it better for her, but eventually, she has to do things to make it better."
After a pause, Dr. Phil says, "That's not your job. Here's what I want you to focus on. The reality is the only person in this world you can control is you. And that's what you need to focus on right now ... And what you've got to do is say, 'You know what? I'm going to be the best Grant I can be. I'm going to have the best attitude that I can have' ... Right now, you just need to decide, 'I'm going to set some objectives here and one of the ones I'm going to try to do is replace my critical spirit with an accepting spirit. And I'm going to give it a test, that it just doesn't matter how well she does something. That is not my job; that is her job. My job is to just be the most pleasant person to be around that I can be.' Just decide it just doesn't matter. I want you to kind of be a little bit of a slob for awhile. I mean, just try to relax some, and let her just do what she's going to do."